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5/25/2005

USW Condemns Continental Tire’s Termination of Health Benefits

Source: USW

MAYFIELD, Ky.—The United Steelworkers (USW) and its Local 665 today condemned Continental Tire North America’s termination of health insurance benefits for close to 200 laid-off employees and their families as a blatant violation of the Company’s collective bargaining agreement with the Union. These members are currently laid off due to the Company’s closure of tire making operations at its Mayfield, Ky., facility. They are entitled to continued health insurance benefits as a result of contractual protections promised by the Company in an agreement with the USW and Local 665.

“We are outraged at this obvious violation of our members’ rights under the contract,” stated John Sellers, Executive Vice-President of the USW’s Rubber and Plastics Industry Conference. “The fact that these families are currently laid off once again illustrates Continental Tire’s lack of a conscience and lack of respect for people.”

The contract at the Mayfield facility requires the Company to continue health insurance for at least three months and up to 12 months while a member is laid off from work.

Terry Beane, President of USW Local 665 asserts, “This action by Continental establishes a new low in my 28 years of service. The Company first announces a shutdown of the plant, laying off these people. The Company is now trying to argue it was not a shutdown in an attempt to deny our members from receiving benefits if the plant shuts down. Now they kick our people while they are laid off. This is the worst of corporate behavior. We will fight this action all the way to Continental’s corporate headquarters in Germany if necessary.” Until this issue is resolved these workers and their families will have no medical benefits or prescription drug coverage.

John Sellers further stated, “We have protested the Company’s action under the contractual grievance procedure. If the Company refuses to resolve the dispute, the USW will take the legal steps necessary to reverse this indignity. We will not let this Company get away with harming these good people and urge the Company to restore these benefits immediately.”

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